Look For Super Bowl Advertising To Go Mobile & Interactive

February 4, 2012

11:21 pm

On the eve of Super Bowl Sunday, even if you don’t like the teams playing this year (Go Bears!), you can still plan on enjoying the Super Bowl commercials and the variety of interactivity and entertainment that will fill tomorrow night, especially the spots that involve technology companies and entrepreneurs. Now at an all time high, each of the fifty available 30-second advertisement spots during the Super Bowl costs $3.5 million. It’s always interesting to see how companies decide to spend their valuable advertising dollars.

In terms of themes, entrepreneurship has been a strong one for America for some time, and the economy has put a revitalized spotlight on new, growing business as a solution for job creation. So it seems fitting that some of this year’s most valuable television spots will include entrepreneurs of various successful ventures (you may catch a glimpse of Mark Cuban making an appearance).

While automakers and soft drink companies have long used their money for this type of ad spend, some of the companies in the tech sector have begun to join the group. Last year we saw Groupon and LivingSocial make ad buys with Groupon’s racy and somewhat misunderstood campaign costing them a little face but garnering much publicity. GoDaddy has been an annual regular and this year will be no different as they again look to use sexy models to sell domain names. Hulu will also be back with its alien-themed spots.

And for the first time ever, the entire game is being streamed to Verizon Wireless phones. So, if you don’t have cable but have a Verizon phone you can tune in.

This year more than ever will be a year of mobile interactivity along with television viewership. Conversations about the game are sure to be voiced via Twitter and Facebook – many from their mobile devices. You will see a lot of the music identification mobile app Shazam, as it will integrate into several of the ads to offer viewers opportunities to “Shazam a song” and win prizes. Some of the companies said to be participating are Cars.com, Toyota and Teleflora, among others.

Another app making an appearance will be the IntoNow app, which will be used in the Pepsi Max advertising campaign to enter fans into a sweepstakes to win the drink for life. Coca-Cola will also be joining the fun with the creation of PolarBear.com, a website where polar bears will be offering reactions to game plays, halftime and maybe even some other ads. I expect to see those Polar Bears tweeting too.

This is also the first year I watched all of the Super Bowl ads here on YouTube the day before the Super Bowl.

So the real question is…with all this offline interactivity will anyone actually be paying attention to the game itself, and will those expensive ad spots prove worthwhile for the brands? With the price point of an advertisement too outrageous for most startups (unless you are extremely well funded) to even think about, let’s play “pretend you had the budget.” Would it make more sense to run an ad during the big game or would a better alternative be to create an interesting mobile or web companion app for the Super Bowl and try to grab as many people’s attention as possible? What would you do to make a splash during the Super Bowl?

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups.

Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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